LGBTQ students rejoiced — and kissed openly on Brigham Young University’s campus — on Wednesday after the Mormon school unveiled a new honor code that notably excluded a section that had banned all “homosexual behavior.”
BYU later clarified, however, that the principles of its honor code ― a morality contract that students must sign to attend classes at the institution and which carries punishments including suspension and expulsion for infractions ― remained the same despite the exclusion. The school has yet to specify what behavior, if any, would be permitted among same-sex couples.
An earlier version of the honor code described “homosexual behavior” as “inappropriate” and a violation.
“Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings,” including hand-holding and kissing, the code had said, according to Deseret News.
That entire section has been deleted from BYU’s new honor code.
The university, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said it updated its code to more closely align with the new General Handbook released this week by the LDS church.
As the Salt Lake Tribune notes, the new handbook includes a softer stance toward some LGBTQ issues, including allowing children of same-sex couples to get baptized and blessed.
After news of BYU’s honor code change, students celebrated on campus ― with big grins and public displays of affection.
Hours later, however, BYU appeared to throw cold water on the jubilation, tweeting that there may have been “some miscommunication as to what the Honor Code changes mean.”
“Even though we have removed the more prescriptive language, the principles of the Honor Code remain the same,” the school wrote, adding that the “Honor Code Office will handle questions that arise on a case by case basis.”
Asked to clarify its stance on the issue, Carri Jenkins, a BYU spokeswoman, repeated to KSL.com that the “principles of the Honor Code remain the same.”
“BYU Honor Code administrators have met with students throughout the day and welcome the opportunity to further discuss the updated Honor Code,” Jenkins added.
It remains unclear whether LGBTQ couples will be allowed to kiss and hold hands on BYU’s campus under the new honor code rules. “Sexual relations” between anyone other than a married man and woman is prohibited under the code.
The university didn’t immediately respond to a HuffPost after-hours request for comment.
BYU students and alumni expressed disappointment at what they criticized as a lack of transparency from the school. Some said they were contemplating participating in a protest to express their frustration.
“No take backs BYU, that’s against the rules!!!!!!!” one student wrote on Twitter.